WICHITA — Wichita police said Wednesday they have opened a criminal investigation into the case of 31 dead cats and two live dogs found in a house at 235 N. Green over the weekend.
The 69-year-old woman who had been living there told police that she had been checking on the animals daily.
“Clearly, that was not the case,” Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said Wednesday.
Police arrived Saturday to check on the woman’s welfare after a call from a concerned neighbor, according to Stolz. Abandonment seemed evident due to flies on the window and the smell coming from the house.
Officers called the fire department so firefighters could enter the home in hazmat-level suits to search for the woman, Stolz said. They entered the home and, instead of finding the woman, found 31 dead cats and two flea-infested dogs who were feeding on the cats. Police then called the Wichita bomb team to process the potential crime scene.
Under the Kansas Cruelty to Animals Statutes, cruelty to animals is defined several ways, including “abandoning or leaving any animal in any place without making provisions for its proper care.”
Should the woman be charged under state statute, she could face a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a maximum $2,500 fine.
A Wichita police detective with specialized training in animal cruelty has been assigned to the case, police said.
Police have not arrested or charged the woman, pending the results of their investigation. She was no longer living at the house on North Green; she was instead staying at a friend’s house after recently being hospitalized.